Last Wednesday I attended the seminar on “Detection Systems for Biological threats” in London, organised by the Sensors & Instrumentation KTN.
There was a good range of speakers and attendees from industry, academia and government, and some interesting and thought-provoking talks.
Dr. Ian Lawston – chief scientist at the Dstl detection department – discussed the performance requirements for detection technologies. Apart from the obvious needs for sensitive detection of as many threats as possible, he emphasised that currently improvements are most needed not in the detection technology itself, but in the area of sample collection and processing.
A prototype explosives detector I designed and built for Inscentinel was featured in an article by Richard Savill on page 3 of the Daily Telegraph—the full text follows:
Bees, latest weapon in the war on terrorism
Honeybees trained to sniff out explosives could soon be used at airports in the fight against terrorism.
Researchers have trained bees to extend their proboscis when smelling a particular explosive and have also developed a “sniffer box” to indicate when the bees show signs of detecting explosives. A spokesman for Inscentinel, of Harpenden, Herts, said teams of sniffer bees could one day be part of the screening process at airports and other venues, including museums and major sporting events.